Gary Ball Killed in Truck Accident on Texas 302 in Reeves County
Reeves County, TX — August 30, 2022, 56-year-old Gary Ball died and another man was injured in a truck accident on State Highway 302 in Reeves County.
Authorities say the incident happened around 5:30 a.m. along TX-302 near mile marker 186. Preliminary investigation suggests Ball was driving a Freightliner semi-truck with an attached trailer west on the highway when he allegedly crossed over the center line for unknown reasons. His big rig then sideswiped an eastbound Mack 18-wheeler, after which the Freightliner caught fire and ran off the road.
Ball was pronounced dead at the scene. The Mack truck driver was taken to an area hospital in stable condition.
The investigation continues. No further information is currently available.
Commentary on Gary Ball Accident on TX-302 in Reeves County
When people read about a driver crossing left of center, many of them instinctively ask "What did he do wrong?" They assume that since the truck went out of control then the one who lost that control is to blame. Police seem to have that idea here as they suggested the victim fell asleep or was distracted by his phone when he crossed over.
Sometimes driver errors like those are to blame, it's true, but that can't be taken for granted before all the other possible factors are properly evaluated. There are plenty of reasons a truck could lose control that would be out of the driver's hands. Take for instance a malfunction or defect in the truck--they can be subtle and hard for untrained traffic investigators to find, but they cause far more accidents than people may realize.
Because such defects often fly under the radar, many crashes are unfairly blamed on driver error (consider the GM ignition switch fiasco of a few years ago) when the operators actually couldn't have done much to avoid them. That's why it's crucial that trained investigators who know what signs to look for get involved. At worst they'll confirm what police already thought, but they might also uncover critical evidence that changes how the wreck is perceived--and what should happen afterward.